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The Drop

From ‘The Godfather’ to ‘The Sopranos’ viewers have been fascinated with crime gangs.  Revolving around a loose ‘family’ of people, their shady interactions never go out of style.  ‘The Drop’ explores another facet of this oft-travelled road.  Whilst a nasty conclusion for someone is predictably guaranteed, how ‘The Drop’ reaches it provides some genuinely unexpected surprises.

 

Funnelling cash to local gangsters via a syndicate of bars, bartender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) has his work cut-out.  In league with his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), Bob’s actions soon catch up with him.  Caught in a botched robbery the ensuing police investigation places in him the law’s sights.  Relying on those he trusts, Bob finds loyalties can be very vague in the murky world in which he resides.

 

Strongly directed by Michael R Roskam, this excellent film continually captivates.  Portraying Bob’s struggle to either stand by his beliefs or delve into the dark spaces of his shady peers, ‘The Drop’ is an engrossing character study.  Mostly discarding violent incident and action, it explores the psychological tension everyone feels within their crooked universe.  Anything can happen with double cross, love and constant danger always in play – leading to engrossing viewing.

 

‘The Drop’ wouldn’t work without the fine casting.  Hardy and Gandolfini inhabit their characters so well.  The realism they inject ensures they truly immerse themselves into their opposing personalities.  In his final screen appearance Gandolfini reminds what a talent has been lost with his co-stars providing solid support.  Roskam’s use of cinematography enhances their performances with a gritty and grimy atmosphere that never lets go.

 

A strong crime thriller, ‘The Drop’ is a fascinating reflection on divided loyalties.  Fans of these movies should enjoy it with the crime genre showing no signs of fading with the evil that men do forever entrancing audiences.

 

Rating out of 10:  8

Interstellar

Re-inventing thrillers with ‘Memento’ and the superhero genre with the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy, director Christopher Nolan excels in diversity.  His attempts at career longevity have been admirable as this is something for which most creative people strive.  ‘Interstellar’ adds another professional sheen.  Delving into science fiction, Nolan’s efforts highlight his ability in switching gears whilst maintaining his unique edge.

 

Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a skilled space engineer called to assist in a secret project which he enthusiastically accepts.  With Earth savaged by a continuous freak storms, he is tasked with finding another planet for its citizens.  Joined by fellow experts including Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Cooper has only one chance to save humanity from a looming cataclysm.

 

‘Interstellar’ promises much and ultimately delivers little.  Whilst scenes in space are dazzling and the dramatic moments involving Cooper’s family are solid, overall ‘Interstellar’ offers a feeling of déjà vu.  Treading a path walked by ‘Captivity’ and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, there is little that seems fresh.  Nolan fails to generate a sense of urgency and drive to his character’s actions.  This leads to a lack of genuine tension with only the occasional action sequence livening what is a rather dour movie.

 

The screenplay becomes bogged down in scientific exposition slowing the pace.  The detachment between the story and characters further makes ‘Interstellar’s 3 hour run-time a viewing chore. In his efforts to convey the film’s themes, Nolan’s ongoing self-indulgence results in the story moving away from his grasp.  Only the CGI really captures the imagination with McConaughey’s unsuitability in playing such a strong, forth-right role clear.  His co-stars fare better and do their best in bringing the often stagnant screenplay to life.

 

Despite the hype and Nolan’s esteemed reputation, ‘Interstellar’ is a dull effort.  Although having a grandiose sweep, without a captivating story the visual trickery matters little.  Hopefully Nolan’s next production will utilise his skills more effectively and reclaim the promise he initially showed.

 

Rating out of 10:  5